Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has renewed Airtel Malawi’s operating license for 10 years, effective from February 5, 2024 with the expectation of continued improvements in quality of service.

MACRA, led by its board chairperson  Chairperson Bridgett Chibwana and Director General Daud Suleman, presented the new licence to the telecommunications company at an event held in Lilongwe on Tuesday.

The new licence marks exactly 25 years since Airtel Malawi was granted its initial license on February 5, 1999, and subsequently renewed 10 years ago in February 2014.

Speaking during the event, Suleman said they are happy that Airtel is staying in Malawi which shows that investors are confident in the Malawi telecommunications sector. He expressed hope that Airtel will become a solid partner in digitalization efforts in Malawi“The new licence puts an emphasis in quality of service and that we should deepen digitalization. The 23 percent internet penetration in the country still remains low and we would love to reach 60 percent by the year 2028. We see Airtel as strategic player in achieving that goal,” said Suleman.

Airtel Managing Director Charles Kamoto noter that since 2014, the company has made significant contributions to the development of the telecoms sector and the economy of Malawi.

According to Kamoto, Airtel has connected over 7 million customers to its network, with 2.6 million of them using data services. The company has also increased smartphone penetration to 29.1%, enabling more Malawians to access the digital world.

“We have paid over K59.4 billion to MACRA for levies, fees, and spectrum, and over K17.6 billion in international interconnect levies. We have invested over $176 million in network infrastructure delivering over 1,100 sites with all with 2G, 3G and 4G services, expanding our coverage to 88.2% of the country and serving 86.7% of the population.

“We have also created self-employment opportunities through our distribution network of 28,000 SIM selling and 115,000 airtime/recharge selling outlets,” he said.

He added that the company has also given back to the society, contributing over K1.4 billion to various social causes, such as education, health, sports, and disaster relief.

“We have, since 2016, also paid over K69 billion in corporate tax, supporting the government’s revenue collection,” he said.

With the renewed license, Kamoto said Airtel is confident that it has the capacity, the experience, and the vision to continue serving the nation and fulfilling its mission of enriching lives through its services.

“We are committed to providing the best quality, value, and customer experience in the industry. We are also excited to explore new opportunities and challenges,” he said.

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